With Kenya’s betting craze hitting an all-time high, The Star newspaper has launched a magazine targeting sports betting fanatics. The weekend pullout, Shinda Bet, was launched today, and seeks to help the growing tribe of gamblers in Kenya to predict the results of various football matches to increase their chances of winning bets.
The magazine analyses trends based on past performance and injury records of teams to come up with possible results. The Star is eyeing advertising from betting companies and also increasing readership for its weekend edition, as it seeks to increase its revenues. It hopes also to entice Kenya’s sports betting giant, SportPesa, which had withdrawn its advertising in the newspaper as well as other betting firms.
It has a match prediction section in which it gives possible results for matches by analyzing the various trends and odds. It has enlisted sports professionals, including veteran coach and turned radio present Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulei, Muigai Kiguru and sports journalist William Njuguna to help fans predict match outcomes.
While it may attract fans, The Star is walking on thin ice as it exposes itself to legal landmines and protests in case fans lose money based on their predictions. The magazine lacks the crucial disclaimer that would not make it liable in case it is sued by a fan for misleading him/her into making wrong bets.
Royal Media bans betting ads
Meanwhile, Royal Media services has resisted the allure of money from sports betting and banned adverting associated with sports betting and gambling. The broadcast giant is aiming at safeguarding media etiquette and religious morals which prohibit betting. This is a bold decision by a media house especially coming at a time when ad revenues are falling and media houses getting desperate.
A new outfit called M-tabiri was launched last year with the aim of helping gamblers predict football matches through SMS but has failed to popularize it service in the fastest growing industry in the country.
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Over the last few years, betting firms led by SportPesa have taken the Kenyan sports scene by storm, pumping millions of shillings into various sports and two of Kenya’s most popular clubs, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, with a view to winning over millions of Kenyans.
Sport Pesa has proved that business is good by sponsoring one of the oldest clubs in the English Premier League, Hull City. Later on, the betting giants announced a partnership deal with Kenya’s international Victor Wanyama’s former club, Southampton Football Club.
For a firm that is hardly five years old, not to mention that it is from a developing country in Africa, the question has remained where the money comes from to sponsor an English Premier League team in the “most lucrative” deal in the club’s 112-year history worth Sh450 million for the next three years.
This is a clear indication that the betting companies are reaping big from Kenyans’ pockets. Currently, more than five million Kenyans – 12.5 per cent of the country’s 40 million mobile money users and 11% of the total population – engage in mobile betting.